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THE FOUL TRUTH: Officials to investigate CCTV from duck slaughterhouse after animal rights group’s video exposed horror scenes

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Claire Palmer: Animal farming is centered on exploitation, not the rights of animals. CCTV will not prevent suffering, as cameras have shown, because it is innate in this industry.

SOPHIE TANNO: Food standards chiefs are to investigate Britain’s largest duck producer after alarming footage appeared to show ‘cruel treatment’ of birds destined for Christmas dinner tables. Undercover footage taken inside the slaughterhouse of Gressingham Duck, based in Redgrave, Suffolk, was taken by animal rights campaigners at the end of September. The company kills around eight million ducks a year and supplies Red Tractor Assured duck to Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Co-Op, ASDA and Morrisons.

Animal rights campaigners have accused the company of breaching of fifteen EU, UK government, and Red Tractor animal welfare and food safety guidelines. Animal Justice Project (AJP) claims that Red Tractor is unethically stamping its approval on practices inside the slaughterhouse that are condemned by the government’s own advisory body on animal welfare. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has now said that it wants to inspect CCTV from inside the Gressingham slaughterhouse, over the reported animal cruelty and suffering…

AJP says the footage shows the ‘harsh reality’ inside the Gressingham slaughterhouse… Over just one working day, AJP claim to have recorded a fifteen breaches of EU, UK government, and Red Tractor guidelines at the Gressingham slaughterhouse… It shows ducks being roughly grabbed by workers from crates, dragged by their heads, necks, and wings which AJP claims is in breach of guidelines… The birds can then be seen being live-shackled and sent along a shackle line into an electrical waterbath – both practices it says are condemned by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)…

In disturbing footage, workers could be heard yelling heatedly at one another, which lead to them aggressively manhandling the ducks, dragging them across crates by their heads, necks, and wings – in breach of guidelines. Workers filmed are accused of using excessive force when loading the ducks into the shackles, and birds were left hanging for two periods, over 14 minutes and almost 12 minutes.

Both of these times are well over the maximum time of two minutes specified in both UK and EU legislation, according to AJP. Live shackling is also a practice that has been long condemned by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC). The AJP is demanding action by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) – which states that ‘immediate and robust enforcement action will be taken’ if animal welfare issues are found…

Animal Justice Project claims that mandatory CCTV inside UK slaughterhouses is failing to prevent animal cruelty and suffering… Claire Palmer, spokesperson for AJP said: ‘This is the tragic reality of duck farming and slaughter in the UK, but it is not just ducks who suffer. ‘Intensive animal farming centres on exploitation for profit, not the rights of animals. CCTV will not prevent suffering, as our own cameras have shown, because it is innate in this industry’…

Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics Andrew Knight, added: ‘Shackling involves hanging birds from their legs, upside down. ‘This is an unnatural position, and exerts considerable force on the bones and soft tissues of the legs and feet. ‘It is an inhumane way to treat birds of any species. No organisation should be certifying practices that are inhumane’…

In December 2019, Animal Justice Project released a shocking undercover investigation at one of their farms in Norfolk. Last year’s investigation revealed workers breaking the necks of ducks and throwing their twitching bodies back into the flock of running ducks. Ducks also received a complete lack of enrichment, and no open water – so the birds could only dip their heads into drinkers. SOURCE…

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